Kate Chopin has been hailed as one of the most successful writers in the US history. Her stories portray significant meanings in the past and present American society. Among his most read stories is ‘The story of the hour which she compiled and wrote in 1894. This essay will provide cogent analysis of the story with regard to the feminism as the main thematic content within the story.
To begin with, the story gives the depiction on how a woman undergoes struggles with an aim and hope of achieving temporary freedom in a society characterized by patriarchal domination. Chopin uses her literary skills in doing the exploration of the entrapment of women in a male dominated societal culture. First, it is undisputable that Mrs. Mallard is seriously oppressed by her husband. This is portrayed when her husband dies. Despite the fact that she displays a somber mood when her husband dies, her inner feeling is that of relief that she had ever yearned for since childhood. From this, it is evidently true that women in this society have no say or authority to express to the society what they think is appropriate for their life. Moreover, marriage in this society is meant to bring women under the control and mistreatment by their male counterparts.
Secondly, Louis’s outlook changes instantly following her husband’s demise signifying a sign of deep relief from the perilous patriarchal rule by her husband. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long, but now her fancy were running riot along those days ahead of her” (Chopin 2). From the excerpt, it is undoubtedly true that Louis was under oppression by her husband. It is always ironical for one to feel inner excitement when her partner dies. Her perspective on life changes drastically following the death of her husband. This is an implication that the freedom of expression and speech limit them a lot in terms of their reasoning and overall contribution to the societal progress. The existing landscape outside Louis.’ window also reveals and mirrors her perspective and understanding of the society, at large. “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air” (Chopin 2).
Joy overcomes Louis and she could not hide it anymore. The socially rules and constructed women regarding the female gender had rejected freedom and independent mindedness on women. They are supposed to be subjects and ‘servants’ to their husbands. “Free free free!” (Chopin 2). From this, it is evident that she has gained in herself certain self of autonomy. She feels the freedom she had wanted. It is obvious from this that men in this particular society used all means in silencing their women, especially through ensuring that they don’t get informed about the societal activities and progress. Denying them enlightenment of denying them education ensuring that they remain unaware of the necessary activities and roles that they participate in making sure that they have to get or understand a given concept or aspect in the progress of the society.
Another notable gender disparity portrayal in the story is Mrs. Louis being referred to as to Miss Mallard or she in several times. This is a symbol of identity loss of Mrs. Louis. Instead of being called by her husband’s name. However, when she gains her freedom following the death of her husband, she regains her original identity.
From the above elaborations, it is succinct that women’s role in the society played the biggest part when Chopin came up with the novel. The novel talks of female oppression under the lead and control over their male counterparts in the societal as well as at family levels.